What is the Difference Between AWD and 4WD?

2021 Jeep Wrangler in Snow

Draper drivers in the market for a used vehicle may find themselves wondering “What is the difference between AWD and 4WD?” The difference between AWD and 4WD is significant in terms of handling, engineering, and power distribution. Drivers asking “Is AWD the same as 4WD?” will be surprised by just how distinct these two powertrains are. Read the guide from the National Auto Plaza service team to learn more about the distinctions between AWD and 4WD. 

What is AWD?

AWD, or all-wheel drive, is a drivetrain in which torque is directed from the engine to the front and rear axles to all four wheels via differentials. A breakdown of this system is provided below. 

Difference Between AWD and 4WD: Full-Time AWD System

  • Full-time AWD systems send torque to the front and rear axles consistently, 

Difference Between AWD and 4WD: Part-Time AWD Systems 

  • Part-time AWD systems monitor road conditions to decide when to send torque only to the front axle. 

What is 4WD?

4WD, or four-wheel drive, is a 4×4 drivetrain. The main difference between 4WD and AWD is that while 4WD systems are able to send power to the front and rear axles, they are also capable of directing a specific amount of power to the left and right wheels. 

Is AWD the same as 4WD?

The sections above answer the question “Is AWD the same as 4WD?” but which one is better for Salt Lake City drivers? It all depends on your needs. Here are some factors to consider:

  • AWD vehicles usually prove to be the best option for most Murray commuters looking for extra traction in inclement weather.
  • 4WD vehicles are a better option for those seeking the most rugged off-road conditions or onsite truck utility for a job.

Test Drive AWD & 4WD Cars at National Auto Plaza!

Now that you have learned what is the difference between AWD and 4WD, stop by our Sandy dealership to test drive our AWD and 4WD inventory. We have a variety of inventory to meet the needs of all drivers. Our service team works tirelessly to make sure that your vehicle is in tip-top shape before you drive it off the lot. Contact us today to schedule a test drive!


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